Sunburnt Mud Begins to Crack

13 June - 07 July 2018


‘Sunburnt Mud Begins to Crack’ represents a confident development in the work of contemporary British painter Victoria Young Jamieson as she unveils a collection of new paintings at Daniel Raphael.

In this new body of work, Young Jamieson continues to produce imagery which is indelibly connected to specific locations and this ambitious exhibition of paintings on wood panel and canvas is the result of an intensive period of making - focusing on accumulated memories, references and sketches made during a two-month expedition to the West Coast of America in 2017. The exhibition will also feature works made in response to recent travels around Cornwall, Switzerland and France.

In ‘Sunburnt Mud Begins to Crack’, Young Jamieson is deliberately transferring her gaze away from the sea (a consistent and engrained source of inspiration and energy) to focus on a very different set of perspectives as she recalls the blue skies and arid heat of the American Mid-West and the breath-taking mountains, creeks and canyons of Yosemite National Park.

Vivid, earthy colours and solid, rocky skylines reveal an intense connection to these newly observed terrains and they have clearly provided a wealth of visual stimuli for an artist who consciously connects so deeply with her environmental surroundings. ‘Sunburnt Mud Begins to Crack’ is an intimate journal, redolent of Young Jamieson’s experiences in these spectacular places.

I close my eyes and I can see the morning sun.

In the same hemisphere but a different atmosphere.

The shades of blue that normally fill my eyes have been replaced with the fire and heat of American desert air *

The impressive paintings from the Death Valley series are hazy and hot, heightened by the beaming heat which emanates from the desert sun and turns the fissured earth terracotta. These more figurative representations evoke the undulating, sculptural forms of this other-worldly landscape, set against the backdrop of a piercing blue sky.

Reds and yellows and oranges I have seen before but never known.

The exposure to the thick air allows me to be engulfed with the desert dust *

Contrastingly, the American Desert series presents an abstracted view of the same place, seen through a swirling mass of hot reds and burnt umbers, cast against a dark expanse - suggestive of the night sky. These are feverish and fast-paced paintings, reminiscent of the work of the late Trevor Bell (1930 - 2017) who also spent time in the USA and continued to be mesmerised by the swooning heat and expansive landscapes of the desert for most of his career. Much like Young Jamieson, he was also committed to translating his experiences to canvas, as a means of recording his fascination with the natural world.

I feel that what we should get from art is a sense of wonder, of something beyond ourselves, that celebrates our ‘being’ here. Trevor Bell

The heat of the desert is quelled somewhat by the rocky, tree-lined valleys of the Yosemite Series. Gentle colours and looser, layered brushstrokes create a fresh clarity, with hints of snow-tipped mountain ranges set against racing, icy rivers. The epic scale of Yosemite is elegantly depicted in these abstracted paintings and they once again suggest the ethereal qualities of a dream, as Young Jamieson reflects upon her position in this magnificent place.

From the wild coast of the Atlantic to the deserts and pine-covered forests of the USA, Young Jamieson’s work captures the essence of each locale. Pure abstraction is combined with figurative references to convey the multi-faceted memories of Young Jamison’s experiences as thoughts and memories shift.

Words by Lucy Ward, 2018

(*) quotes are taken from Lulu Farley’s poems, made in response to the work of Victoria Young Jamieson